Brick's Post-Sandy Tax Assessments in Flux
Could mean temporary budgetary squeeze
State officials are continuing to debate, internally, how property tax reassessments may work in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
But residents whose homes are unliveable or, in some cases, destroyed, continue to pepper officials in Brick and beyond about the ramifications of paying tax bills on properties whose improvement values may now be lower.
In Brick, where both mainland and barrier island sections were hit hard by the massive storm, temporary revaluations could spell budgetary issues, at least on a temporary basis.
Business Administrator Scott Pezarras said Monday that he has participated in conference calls and meetings with county tax administrators and the state's Division of Taxation.
Pezarras expects state officials to outline how municipal governments should proceed in handling requests for reassessments in the wake of the storm.
"I'm hopeful that by the end of this week, we will have clearer direction," said Pezarras, explaining that officials are in talks with the Christie administration.
Some predicted the state's answer could come by way of a legislative solution of an executive order issued by the governor.
If a large enough group of property owners request reassessments, it could affect the township budget or residents' overall tax bills, though likely for only a short period of time – perhaps as short as one quarter – as the majority of homes will be repaired before the end of the year.
Reassessments will only take into account the improvements on a lot, Pezarras said. The assessed value of the land itself will not change.
As for long term implications, Pezarras said that in areas of the country previously affected by hurricanes, property values near the water actually went up over time, since homes were repaired and rebuilt using modern materials under updated zoning laws that require more storm-resistant construction techniques.
Oceanfront real estate, heavily damaged in Brick during Sandy, was an area where prices rose in South Florida, for example.
In Brick, the barrier island portion of the town represents about 12 percent of the township's overall ratable base.